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THE WEEK IN POLICY - Public Affairs Update - Friday 23 February

Please find the latest policy update From Constructing Excellence




Lee Rowley meets council chiefs to discuss action against rogue building owners


On Tuesday (20 February), the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced the Minster for Housing and Building Safety, Lee Rowley, had spoken to a group of council chief executives to discuss the action they are taking against building owners who fail to fix medium and high-rise buildings with known building safety issues. The Department has also provided £8 million in funding to councils to help combat the issue.


Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announces new rules for short-term lets


On Monday (19 February), the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced several rule changes for short-term lets in an effort to prevent them resulting in local residents being pushed out of their communities. This means planning permission will now have to be sought for future short-term lets and a mandatory national register will be created to ensure accommodation is safe. Homeowners can continue to let out their own main or sole home for up to 90 nights a year.


Department for Energy Security and Net Zero publishes draft strategy and policy statement for energy policy


On Wednesday (21 February), the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero published its Draft Strategy and Policy Statement for Energy Policy in Great Britain. Following approval from Parliament, the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero will designate the Strategy and Policy Statement, at which point the document will be in force. Included in the document are strategies concerning:


  • Targets for renewable and low-carbon deployment

  • Making sure the benefits of the net zero transition are equally felt across the country

  • The domestic heating transition

  • Supporting vulnerable consumers and those experiencing fuel poverty with the transition

  • Ensuring sufficient electricity supply for low-carbon technologies


Material Supply Chain Group Statement


Statement from John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation and Peter Caplehorn, CEO of the Construction Products Association, co-chairs of the Construction Leadership Council’s Material Supply Chain Group.  The first report of the year from the Construction Leadership Council’s Material Supply Chain Group (formerly Product Availability Group) shows 2024 starting in the same way that 2023 ended, with good levels of product availability and prices remaining flat or falling slightly. See Material Supply Chain Group Statement – Construction Leadership Council





UK insurers urge public-private schemes to deploy £100bn green investment – The FT 

Concerns that lack of suitable projects could undermine post-Brexit reforms designed to boost domestic infrastructure. UK insurers have called for new public-private partnerships to help funnel a promised £100bn of investment unlocked by post-Brexit regulatory reforms into green infrastructure projects. See UK insurers urge public-private schemes to deploy £100bn green investment (


Retrofit research project aims to improve UK heat efficiency data – H&V News


H&V News reports the new government-funded Homes to Net Zero research programme will monitor and build understanding about the effectiveness of different measures for improving heat efficiency in existing homes. The project sees a partnership between University College London, Oxford University, utilities provider E.ON and the Energy Systems Catapult. The research will use a network of 2,500 homes that are currently used as part of the Energy Systems Catapult’s Living Lab Project to investigate the range of retrofit interventions available.


Hat pump boss greets government’s easing of installation curbs – The Energyst


The Energyst reports Aira UK, a recent entrant into the UK heat pump market, has voiced support for the Government’s proposed easing of planning rules for heat pumps. The Government’s ongoing consultation is looking into measures that will accelerate the uptake of heat pumps, including reducing the distance separating externally-mounted devices from neighbours’ properties and other relaxations in planning restrictions. Aria UK CEO Daniel Särefjord argues planning rules are the main barrier to heat pump installation, with 95% of gas boilers being replaced with another gas boiler today.


Energy Efficiency – Beware of Unexpected Consequences – Landlord Today


Landlord Today reports the head of insulation manufacturer SuperFOIL Insulation has warned of the dangers of condensation, mould and structural problems if insulation is installed without adequate insulation. William Brown, managing director of SuperFOIL Insulation, has called for more awareness that heat efficiency has to work hand-in-hand with ventilation and that an unhealthy balance between the two can cause health risks from contaminated air, mould and damp.


Simulation model to determine coefficient of performance of air-source heat pumps – PV Magazine


PV Magazine reports a research team at the University of Twente in the Netherlands has developed a simulation model to accurately determine the coefficient of performance of air-to-water heat pumps under non-frosting conditions. The novelty of their approach comes from considering how ambient temperature and relative humidity impact the coefficient of performance, taking into account evaporator and condenser pressure drops in the simulation process. According to the team, the model shows a 1.5% deviation from coefficient of performance values from heat pumps’ datasheet. The researchers aim to extend the model to a frosting simulation and a defrosting mode. The researchers are quoted explaining the significance of their model, saying “Although the effect of relative humidity on the COP is less pronounced than the impact of ambient temperature, it can still result in performance gains of up to 10.4% for the reference heat pump”.




Monday 26th: The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee will hear oral evidence as part of its Children, young people and the built environment inquiry.


Tuesday 27th: The House of Commons will hear oral questions to the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero, including questions on the merits of introducing a social energy tariff, fuel poverty statistics, private investment in green technologies and the improvement of energy efficiency in homes.


Wednesday 28th: The Energy Security and Net Zero Committee will hear oral evidence for its Heating our homes inquiry.


Thursday 29th: The House of Lords will hear a short debate on plans to promote a long-term national housing strategy with cross-party support for its delivery.


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